Parents' Role in Interscholastic Athletics
Communicating With Your Children
- Make sure your children know that win or lose, scared or heroic, you love them, appreciate their efforts and are not disappointed in them. This will allow them to do their best without fear of failure. Be the person in their life they can look to for constant positive reinforcement.
- Try your best to be completely honest about your child’s athletic ability, competitive attitude, sportsmanship and actual skill level.
- Be helpful but don’t coach them. It’s tough not to, but it is a lot tougher for the child to be flooded with advice and critical instruction.
- Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be “out there trying,” to be working to improve their skills and attitudes. Help them develop the feeling for competing, for trying hard, for having fun.
- Try not to relive your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure. You were frightened, backed off at times and were not always heroic. Athletic children need their parents, so do not withdraw. There is a thinking, feeling, sensitive, free spirit in that uniform who needs a lot of understanding, especially when their world turns bad. If they are comfortable with you win or lose, then they are on their way to maximum enjoyment.
- Don’t compete with the coach. If your child is receiving mixed messages from two different authority figures, he or she will likely become disenchanted.
- Don’t compare the skill, courage or attitude of your child with other members of the team.
- Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reaction and investigate before overreacting.
- Make a point of understanding courage and the fact that it is relative. Some of us climb mountains and are afraid to fly. Some of us will fly but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas. Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means of doing something in spite of fear and discomfort.
Communicating With The Coach
Communication You Should Expect From Your Child’s Coach
- Philosophy of the coach
- Expectations the coach has for your child as well as all players on the squad
- Locations and times of all practices and contests
- Team requirements (fees, special equipment, off-season conditioning)
- Procedure should your child be injured
- Discipline that results in the denial of your child’s participation
Communication Coaches Expect From Parents
- Concerns expressed directly to the coach
- Notification of any schedule conflicts well in advance
- Specific concerns in regard to a coach’s philosophy and/or expectations
Appropriate Concerns To Discuss With Coaches
- The treatment of your child, mentally and physically
- Ways to help your child improve
- Concerns about your child’s behavior
Issues Not Appropriate To Discuss With Coaches
- Playing time
- Team strategy
- Play calling
- Other student-athletes
Appropriate Procedure For Discussing Concerns With Coaches
- Call to set up an appointment with the coach (contact the athletic administrator to set up the meeting if unable to reach the coach)
- Do not confront a coach before or after a contest or practice (these can be emotional times for all parties involved and do not promote resolution)
If The Meeting With The Coach Did Not Provide A Satisfactory Resolution
- Call to set up an appointment with the athletic administrator or activities director
- Determine the appropriate next step at this meeting